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New Jersey

The following are testimonials submitted to this site. To tell your story, please go here.

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Cris 

I just saw the 60 minutes piece and couldn't wait to respond.  Like many I thought that going to college and graduating was the ultimate and would put me in a position to realize the American Dream.  However, like many of you, Sallie Mae and HESSA have made me question my whole existence on this earth. Originally, I borrowed or was given $8,000.00 by Monmouth College in the late 1980's, early 90's and that amount has skyrocketed to $25,000.00 and is climbing everyday.  I made attempts to pay back over the years, but was unable to earn enough money to pay anything besides basic living expenses.  I had a 4 year period when my mother was dying of breast cancer and I worked part time to care for her.
 
I have been very depressed, have had a slight heart attack, taken a dangerous bad job and all to get a student loan paid. I was screwed in the end because when HESSA found out I could get my loan forgiven for the type of job I took, they went and retroacted payments for garnishment and inflated the amount owed before I could make a single payment. That way HESSA would get a ridiculous amount of money from me and NONE of the loan would be forgiven no matter what type of work I did, forever!


My major concern is fairness.  I feel that since so many have been affected by the extortion of the student loan industry who has now banned together with legislators and colleges and universities to stick it to us, we should stick it to them, SERIOUSLY!  There is one thing that they can't take away from us, for owing a student loan or being in default, OUR RIGHT TO VOTE!!!! Let's show up and show out! We are all college educated people.  We can defend ourselves. 

I'm just gonna put this out there and it's obvious that a movement has begun so why not take it up a notch?
 
Question?  How long will it take to put together a nationwide call to go to Washington D.C and show those sons of a bitches that we will be dealt with and not handled like modern day slaves.  I'm not saying it will be easy, but, it must be done and nobody else will do it. I'm calling you all out to ban together and do this.

Contact anybody that you know who is going through this or has been through this or has a loved one who has experienced the rath of big bad Sallie Mae and tell them to join us in a day of solidarity!

Right now, we are invisible.  We have to be seen and heard and let them know that we do care how we are treated.  ARE YOU WITH ME!!!

 

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Lloyd 

Like most of you I want to start by saying I do not deny the debt owed and I am willing to take responsibility. But I want to know when the laws of the United States stop applying to the governement and more important PRIVATE agencies that say they fall under governement protection. I left school at the University of Florida in late 1981. Through a series of unfortunate events I was forced to declare bankruptcy in June of 1986. I was not informed at the time of my bankruprtcy that although student loans WERE dischargable that they had to be in repayment for five years. I went through the process and was discharged in Dec 1986. Now I did not know that but for a few months it was not discharged (for an amount at the time $4300). I went about my life and over the next forteen years moved to NJ got married and had children. In 1999 I was called by what was to be the first of many collection agencies that I was defaulted on my student loan and I owed over $12,000. I said there must be a mistake and explained everything to them and sent them all the documentation. They came back with there is no mistake and I owed it. 

Now I was curious about how the laws of protection applied in this case and it seems there are none. Your hearing is done mail with no explanations or rebuttals, just a denial. I asked why they did not dispute the bankruptcy at the time and it seems THEY DON"T HAVE TO! I said I have not heard from anyone in almost 15 years why didn't someone sent ANY notice it seems THEY DON"T HAVE TO! I asked what is the staute of limitations with regard to NO ATTEMPT on collecting a debt in fifteen years. They said they did try to contact me but I ignored yet at this point, just AFTER the amendment in 1998 they had no problem finding me. I asked if they any kind of proof that any attempts were made as all creditors must supply, but you guessed it, it seems THEY DON"T HAVE TO! Now I am not a deadbeat, they have already taken a couple of tax returns for about $2500 and I tried to make an arrangement to pay what should be a reasonable amount but I got a reponse of all or nothing. They can be incredibly nasty people who call anywhere, anytime under federal protection (seems just short of the Brown Shirts in Germany 1938).If anyone has an idea of how to re-establish America as a free democracy let me know!

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D.S. 

I like many Americans grew up in the slums.  My familiy could not afford to send me to college nor could I go in the military so i  could help support my college expenses due to a my health condition.  When I graduated from college my debt was about $39,000.  I got married and had a difficult time paying for my loan back at the amount requested by Sallie Mae so I went to an income sensitive system that is just doubling my debt.  My debt has increased to twice the amount I originally owed coming out of college.  I still pay but watch as my debt increases, what am i to do?

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Daniel 

I borrowed money from Sallie Mae and The Federal Student loan program to attend graduate school.  Unfortunately, after graduating and obtaining employment my salary could not cover my loan payments.  As a matter of fact, my monthly loan payment to Sallie Mae alone exceeded my monthly salary!  The Federal loan people were understanding and put me on an income contingent payment program.  But Sallie Mae got downright nasty.


They called me up and demanded full payment immediately.  I tried to explain how it was impossible for me to keep up when the monthly payments exceeded my monthly salary.  They would hear none of it, kept calling and harassing me and finally resorted to threats, telling me that they were, "Going to get their money no matter what."  At that point I went to my attorney and told him about the threats and harassment.  He called the debt collector and spoke with her. The harassment and threats stopped for a while, but about a year later it started again.  As per my lawyer's advice, I sent Sallie Mae a certified letter, in it I stated that I was not to be contacted by them at work or by phone at home.  However, they have ignored this and continue to call and harass me.  My lawyer has informed me that this is against the law, as a debtor I have rights, and being free from harassment is one of them.

Sallie Mae is out of control.  It seems they are above the law, or think they are.  Something has to be done about this company.  I am tired of being harassed by these loan sharks.  Please let me know how I can help.  In the meantime, me and my lawyer will continue to fight them.    


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Brad 

I went to school from '94-'98 and borrowed about $15,000.  $1,000 Perkins, $3,000 Direct Loans, and $11,000 Sallie Mae.  I did not graduate but kept up on my loans, paying off the Perkins and Direct.

In 2000 I went back to school and borrowed about $20,000 more; approximately $9,500 from Citibank and exactly $11,700 from Sallie Mae.  At the time I remember thinking that I would just consolidate my loans after I got out of school, locking in a low interest rate.  I didn't graduate--An attendance policy was enacted after I was enrolled for 18 months(boo-hoo), this killed me because I was working way more than full time, grades were good though.

After my out-of-school grace period ended I consolidated my loans, this included my original Sallie Mae and my Citibank loans from the second time around, a total of about $21,000 locked in at %3.6.  I am current on this loan.

Unfortunately, the Sallie Mae loan from my second school was not included in this consolidation because it is a private institution.  The original $11,700 principal is now $21,000 with an ever-increasing interest rate of %17.325 (I am not yet in default because they keep putting me in forbearance and capitalizing my interest). 

This is how it works:  I refuse to pay thousands of dollars to make my loan current, Sallie Mae reports this to the credit agencies, my credit score goes down, Sallie Mae raises my interest rate because my credit score drops, I refuse to pay thousands of dollars to make my loan current, Sallie may reports this to the credit agencies..., isn't this the definition of a Racket?.  Sallie Mae is the only current blemish on my credit report.

I've always intended to pay my loans, just not at %17+ interest.

I'm now a slave to SM. I have poor credit, I would like to buy a house but I can't.  Where has the dream gone?  I'm 30 and I live with my in-laws.  I have a decent job but no credit= mortgage loan.  They call me every day and as early as 8am on Saturday.

Something is wrong when a small group of people are profiting so greatly.  It is unpatriotic, un-American, and criminal.  We as Americans have to cease taking the dirty end of the stick so passively.  Funny how the educational system doesn't teach this sort of thing.

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Rita 

In an interview on PBS Elizabeth Warren spoke about the agreements and good faith between individuals entering into contracts.
 
I have a similar issue with banks, Sallie Mae and now I elected to have NYSHESC take over my loans just before defaulting because I'd been paying interest, only, for over fifteen years and couldn't obtain a balance of what was owed.  Also, when they sell my loans, they don't give me full credit for all my payments and the balance has a life of its own.
 
This has affected my life, retirement prospects and peace of mine in a most profound way.  I do not have any credit card debt and most other institutions that handle debt aren't interested in student loan inconsistencies.
 
I did not enter into the contracts lightly.  I planned for repayment, selling my home, etc., however, the contract once reasonable, I believe, was "deregulated" by President Reagan and I couldn't get a straight answer from any institution holding the notes. They seem confused.
 
 Also, during his administration there weren't any school districts hiring masters level teachers and there weren't ANY available NDSLs for teachers for graduate studies, although we had only five years to obtain the masters or else lose the teaching certificate.  Later in his administration they allowed individuals to obtain home "equity loans" to pay off the student loans but my income did not qualify me for those types of loans. 
 
To tell you how outrageous this has become, one example, one of the loans that I paid in full, I never received the note.  The explanation I received was, "We don't do that anymore unless all the loans are paid."  Then they sold the loans.  I can't get an answer as to who has the notes or how much is owed or at what interest or when they expect these to be paid in full.  They tell me, "Just keep sending the interest checks."
 
One representative at Sallie Mae confided that I'd payed interest up until 2002 on a loan that was paid off  full in 1994 and I do possess the note for that particular loan.  How could this be possible on loans that were signed off on 7%?   
 
They will not give me an amortization schedule.  Nor the amount of interest, or when I will begin to pay off the principal.
 
Although I have worked my entire professional career in high demand, low income area schools, my loans, which were GSLs, don't qualify to be canceled out through work as do my colleagues and I believe they are being treated under new agreements I've never even been informed of.
 
It seems unfair, probably illegal.  More like a punishment rather than a repayment.  At an initial consultation from an attorney he explained it would cost more than I could afford to straighten out my situation.  I did what he recommended though, to demand information, but it's like talking to the wind.  They ignore me or send me a payment history which makes no sense because my loans are supposed to be fixed interest loans of 7%.  The balance on these documents goes up and down regardless of my consistent, timely, monthly payment.
 
My question:  Who regulates these guys?  How can I get some assistance?   Should I live to retire, the new laws being passed will deduct the loans from my social security payments?  This is too much.
 
Are consumers protected by the notes they sign for student loans? Isn't or don't contract agreements apply to these notes?  Does Professor Warren or you have any knowledge of organizations or any collective bodies working to make right the terrible injustice that has been done to individuals like me?  How much longer must I pay interest?
 
If you can steer me in the right direction towards advocates or others researching, presenting papers, cases or interested in this area of the law I would be eternally grateful and would even consider making you my famous eggplant parmigiana, or homemade cookies, or ...
 
Thank you for your consideration and attention.

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Chris 

You have absolutely great website, but I was wondering if you have any statistics on the average amounts people pay every month in student loans and also loan payments as a percentage of income? That would give a great picture on how Sallie Mae and others are crippling our nation's economy.

Keep up the good work - your site has inspired me to write my congressional representative, but unfortunately my district (13th in New Jersey) is not being represented by anyone right now, as my previous congressman became one of the senators for New Jersey and no special election was held to replace him.  Guess I just have to wait until November...

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Angela

I originally borrowed (education loan): $96,833.00

total amount once paid off: $271,027.86

initial monthly payments: $450.00
current monthly payments: $1300.00

total amount paid so far: $27,433.49


I was so relieved to see this sight, because Sallie Mae has done a great job in completely ripping people off, yet projecting such a positive light in the media. They must have a fantastic PR team to get their name out there saying they are "relieving student debt with giveaways... etc."

I will absolutely not deny my ignorance in the beginning of my college career. I was the first in my family to go to college, and I was very excited to be accepted at Seton Hall University. I took out the entire tuition with Sallie Mae because that was what I could get approved for and they made it sound so wonderful with low interest, and flexibility.

Wow, I was in for a shock when I recieved the bill a week post graduation! My $96,000 loan (for all four years was already pretty hefty-- but manageable) turned into $271,027.00!!! My monthly payments started off at interest only. I did the select step for 2 years. Those interest only payments started at $450, and by the end of the two years turned into $800. FOR INTEREST ONLY! Here I am, entry level college graduate, can barely bring enough in to survive and need to pay that amount??!! But-- I knew it was my own fault and worked two jobs to make ends meet. Yeah, I was working 70-80 hour weeks-- but I would make due and eventually interest would go down. oh nooooo. Interest remained on the rise, and Sallie Mae was completely unforgiving.

2 years ended, and now I get my next bill with principle and interest. Low and behold-- it had risen to $1250.00 per month. I am single trying to support myself in NYC-- and this payment is more than 50% of my monthly income. Imagine that?? Yet there is no forgiving. I have tried to extend, to defer... anything for relief, but by the time I am done paying off my 25 years of payment I will be almost 50 years old. How will I possibly support children if I have such a hefty student loan payment? It is completely impossible. I am 25 years old with a great job-- but there is no way for me to be even remotely comfortable with any salary under 100,000. Even if I made 100,000 my Sallie Mae payment would still exceed 20% of my monthly income!!! And I am stuck with this for 25 more years!!! I will end up homeless and in a cardboard box at this point...

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Jason

My story is fairly much the same as many others here. I attended college, graduated, and then went to law school for a year. Although I graduated college with honors and did well academically at a fairly prestigious law school, I decided that a career in law was not for me. After a period of mid-twenties indirection, I eventually settled down into a business career, marriage, and parenthood. All during that time, my student loans from the late 80's have ballooned from $16k in principal to over $50k with interest and "fees and penalties."

Like many, I do not dispute the original debt and would like to pay off the principal and a reasonable amount of interest. However, Sallie Mae, it's galaxy of collection agencies, and the corrupt, paid-off officials at the Department of Education won't hear of it. As many others here have stated, it is impossible to get any documentation of the original debt or an honest accounting of how the current balance on the loan is calculated. The position, especially on the part of the hired beggars/collection agencies, is that "you owe what we tell you you owe and you'll pay how and when we tell you to pay."

My spouse and I have a solid middle-class income, yet we can't even pretend to think about buying a home because of these student loans. Al Lord gets to have his own golf course, but my child can't have a backyard to play in.


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Anonymous

I entered Stevens Institute of Technology in 1994 to obtain a degree in engineering & science. During the course of my stay I ended up taking out numerous federal student loans and one sallie mae signature loan. I was in my early 30's when I entered. I was subjected to taking out the signature loan because they pulled all of my financial aid due to a new policy which they did not share with the students one fall semester. i was told that i would not be able to attend class until i paid.


Ihave recently finished at rutgers. my credit history has been ruined. i am continuing to receive daily phone calls and mail from sallie mae and its
subsidiaries. despite numerous attempts to try to come to some agreement with
finishing my program and student loans; and even after having the state of nj
contact stevens institute, i abruptly received a letter from the dean of engineering that i had been graduated despite finishing the coursework i was promised for my degree. i am now 47. my family is not speaking to me.

i have suffered physical symptoms due to anxiety-panic attacks. i have been unable to obtain employment of any steady nature. I will never be able to pay off the full amount of the loans. the administrators and president of stevens institute of refused any written correspondence regarding the matter now.


I am seeking legal counsel now, which I cannot afford, which I believe will be successful when all the fine details surrounding my situation are publicly brought forth. However, there can be no financial compensation that will ever be enough to repair the damaged relationship I have with my family nor be able to replace the significant amount of time I have lost.
Advice - DO NOT SIGN ON ANY LOANS THAT ARE OFFERED THROUGH SALLIE MAE AND STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY IN HOBOKEN NJ. BEWARE - Sallie Mae is now
a PRIVATE company specializing in taking advantage of students who need student financial assistance.
If anyone else has had a problem with Stevens please let me know.

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